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Let Older Add-Ons Work With Firefox 3.0

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the not-for-the-faint-of-heart dept.

Mozilla 164

mask.of.sanity informs us of a hack that allows old add-ons to work with Firefox 3.0. Short form: in about:config, create a new boolean and set extensions.checkCompatibility to false. "The fix, which requires a little boolean creativity, great for anyone not afraid of taking risks. The idea is to stop Firefox checking its version history, allowing defunct extensions to work... [Those who do] get the fix working will have to remove the code from the prefs.js file once the stable Firefox comes out, but will enjoy their [favorite extensions] in the meantime."

cancel ×

164 comments

Do not do this (5, Informative)

amake (673443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489046)

Not only is this not news, but it's a bad idea. Straight from the horse's mouth: [mozillazine.org]

You can not make your extensions compatible by changing a Firefox preference.
So don't do it unless you're fully prepared to deal with major breakage!

Re:Do not do this (4, Informative)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489168)

While it may cause breakage its a great way for users of the beta and RC version of Firefox 3 to get some fairly major extensions work.

I need IEtab to get certain work pages to work and I really love stumbleupon... So when Firefox 3 upgraded automatically to RC1 and these broke it was quite annoying so i disabled the check.

An example of an extension this wont fix is Google Browser Sync. You will need to disable this in Firefox 3 otherwise you WILL see some major breakage if you disable the check.

Re:Do not do this (2, Interesting)

BZ (40346) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489254)

I would fully expect IETab to crash, in general, unless you're using it with the exact version of Gecko it was compiled against (or one completely binary-compatible with it, like the security releases are).

Re:Do not do this (3, Informative)

nmg196 (184961) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490796)

Why? IETab doesn't use Gecko, it uses IE. That's the entire point of it.

Re:Do not do this (5, Informative)

GigaplexNZ (1233886) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489826)

Odd, IE Tab is working fine here on FF 3 RC 1 without any modifications. That said, I find a safer way to get your favourite extensions working is to edit the version number in install.rdf which is inside the .xpi file (xpi is just a renamed zip file). That way when the extension updates normally, the hack doesn't stick around ready to break something later.

Re:Do not do this (2, Insightful)

DuncanE (35734) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490238)

Yes IEtab and stumble are compatible NOW, but werent for several days...

If you know what you are doing then disable the compat check for a couple of days...

And yes I know you can edit the extensions directly, but either they are going to get upgraded (like stumble) or they arnt (like Better Gmail2).

Re:Do not do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489956)

I need IEtab to get certain work pages to work and I really love stumbleupon...
Stumbleupon is already compatible :D

Re:Do not do this (4, Interesting)

ta bu shi da yu (687699) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490260)

While it is fine to disable the compatibility checking, my concern is that if enough people disable it they might start expecting the Mozilla devs to actually implement workarounds to 2.0 compat problems in v3. That way leads to many, many problems. Just ask Microsoft.

Re:Do not do this (5, Interesting)

Myen (734499) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489414)

If I remember correctly, one of the top crashes for Firefox 3 betas was... people whole force-enabled Google Toolbar.

Yes, top crash.

This preference is generally not useful unless you know how to deal with the fallout (including figuring out what problems are due to extensions and which ones are not, and possibly fixing things locally).

Re:Do not do this (2, Informative)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489576)

I did this; basically don't want to live without Google Toolbar. But the current version makes FF3 unstartable. I had to manually rip it out my extensions folder.

In any case, there' no need to hacking around in about:config; just use the Nightly Tester Toolds [oxymoronical.com] .

Re:Do not do this (4, Interesting)

inalienable (670771) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489438)

This isn't about making extensions compatible, it's about forcing Firefox to allow you to use extensions that claim not to be compatible, but very well might be. Major breakage certainly could occur, but I find it worth the risk. Many extensions that I was using with beta5 claimed not to work in rc1. Forcing them to load anyway has been very helpful, and they have all worked perfectly without causing any problems (as far as I can tell).

Re:Do not do this (1)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489448)

Exactly. It is there as an aid to extension developers and testers. If you enable it and have problems with Firefox 3, don't blame FF3.

Re:Do not do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489704)

I love that title in your link "Ho To Make Firefox 3 Crash A Lot". Because you know those hos have viruses from all that promiscuity.

Re:Do not do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490448)

... because if mozillazine said it then it MUST be true.

I've been been doing this 'hack' for over a year with no problems. Not for the novice, but if you know what you are doing then do it. Most old extentions are just abandoned and need a version bump. This solves the problem.

Finding out incompatibilities in advance? (4, Interesting)

Pahalial (580781) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490600)

On that note, is there any -easy- way to check addon compatibility before upgrading to FF3, i.e. other than looking each addon up again? As I understand it they all have a builtin version range, why can't I just go to my addon list and see the compatibility of each addon?

Is this a good idea? (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489048)

If FF3 is being used before a v1 release, it ought to be used in order to find bugs so that the development team can fix them for the release version. By breaking a specific part of the product in order to install unsupported addons, users are adding unecessary unknowns to the equation and negating their contributions to the product test cycle.

I'd say hold off on FF3 until it is released if you can't live without your plugins.

Re:Is this a good idea? (2, Interesting)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489462)

Personally, I've been using the betas of Firefox 3 as main because I couldn't stand Firefox 2. This RC1 release is heaven. You guys think this release is buggy when really there's just a few bugs to fix and most of them on foreign versions or very specific cases equally in windows, linux, and mac based on the ratio of installs.

Re:Is this a good idea? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489898)

Pray tell, what's a foreign version?

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490368)

US English, obviously ~

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

smussman (1160103) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491084)

I really don't know [mozilla.com]

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

cmunic8r99 (1271724) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489490)

If FF3 is being used before a v1 release, it ought to be used in order to find bugs so that the development team can fix them for the release version. /quote This is what baffles me about the 8.04 release of *buntu. Why they would include the beta of FF3 is beyond me. If you do a dist-upgrade, it's going to break more than you want pretty much every time.

Re:Is this a good idea? (5, Insightful)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489532)

I'd say hold off on FF3 until it is released if you can't live without your plugins.
While I planned on waiting until Firefox 3 is released before switching, I found it preinstalled in Ubuntu 8.04. So I'm using it. I do think that Ubuntu made a bad decision by including a beta web browser, I understand why they did that. The problem is not that the Firefox betas and RCs are buggy. The problem is that misuse of the term beta has led people to expect no less from a beta than from a full release. Gmail has been in beta for years, and it is [arguably] the most complete, feature-rich webmail available. How long was ethereal beta? 10 years? It was pretty stable for at least the past five years, at least, no less than any other full release software. Beta has become a marketing term for "new".

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490940)

While I planned on waiting until Firefox 3 is released before switching, I found it preinstalled in Ubuntu 8.04. So I'm using it. I do think that Ubuntu made a bad decision by including a beta web browser, I understand why they did that.
I tried it for about two weeks with Ubuntu before it pissed me off enough to revert to 2.x. At least Ubuntu makes this easy. Install these two packages: "firefox-2" and "firefox-2-gnome-support". Once those are installed, remove "firefox-3.0" and "firefox-3.0-gnome-support".

I'll switch to FF3 when it's officially released and when my extensions work.

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23491188)

You can install both at the same time.

Re:Is this a good idea? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489758)

In the same vein, shouldn't extension developers follow the Fx beta stages so that users will actually switch to 3.0 once it is released, instead of having to wait for months until their plugins have left beta stage?

I use about 10 plugins since Fx 1.0, and have yet to encounter a single crash due to an extension (the only plugins that crash my browser are GCJ and Flash). Disabling compatibility checking has been a blessing for me, because it means I can use the latest version of Firefox and still use all extension that I don't want to browse without.

(Before I knew of this option, I used to manually edit the extensions manifest file to fake compatibility with newer versions)

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

kylehase (982334) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489872)

Someone mod this A/C up.

He/she hits an important point that the parent missed. Pre-releases, while important for FF developer feedback, are also very important for FF add-on developer feedback as well.

FF owes much of it's success to the powerful add-ons. I for one am not switching to FF3 on my main PC until all my add-ons are fully functional.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

nfk (570056) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489876)

Your point is only valid if people are not only negating their contributions but actually hindering the product test cycle, by using this trick. If they hold off on FF3 until it is released, they are negating their contributions just as much.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490318)

But if you find a bug you can simply start firefox in safe mode without extensions, or better yet a blank profile, to recreate the bug.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

slaingod (1076625) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490394)

Full page zoom negates all arguments. It is a freaking godsend and worth any instability to be able to use it.

That said, I do miss my Clear Cache, and my Compact Menu (which sadly left me without a menu when I upgraded until I found another Addon to unhide it). Grab and Drag I miss too. Perma Tabs too, but TreeStyle Tabs is rockin.

Re:Is this a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490892)

If FF3 is being used before a v1 release, it ought to be used in order to find bugs so that the development team can fix them for the release version.
Certain user behavior is so pervasive and so foolish that it rises to the level of a bug. The Firefox devs need to know what impact setting this flag has on popular extensions so they don't waste their time having to track it down when the final release comes out. Then they can tell users to uninstall the extension and wait until a new version comes out.

In this way, not only do they discover the bugs that occur as a result of normal usage, but they also discover the wacky bugs that nobody thought could happen because a certain code path was impossible.

Re:Is this a good idea? (1)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490954)

No way in Hell am I going back to the JavaScript performance - or lack thereof - in Firefox 2.

eat my shorts slashdot !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489056)

Eat my shorts slashdot !!

Re:eat my shorts slashdot !! (1)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489590)

No thanks, they tasts kind of tangy.

Re:eat my shorts slashdot !! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489670)

Thanks for that review. I was all about to eat his/her shorts until I saw your comment. Thanks again for the first hand taste review.

A bit less strict disabling rules, please (5, Interesting)

Rah'Dick (976472) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489062)

I always wondered why some extensions got disabled from one minor bugfix release to the next. Has the underlying API been changed so much, that the extension really isn't going to work anymore or is the extension's author just being a bit restrictive with the "max. version allowed" setting?

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (3, Informative)

rubah (1197475) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489456)

Both. Things like forecast fox don't depend so much on the browser so long as they can sit happily in the statusbar (at least how I use it it's happy), but things like firebug get honest-to-gosh broken. As in you can open it and use it to edit css to show in a page, but it will not call the stylesheets or outline an element you hover over. So it's still kinda useful but heavily limited.

for a given of 'small bugfix' anyways.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (3, Informative)

Keeper Of Keys (928206) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489594)

There is a beta (1.1) on the Firebug page [getfirebug.com] which works just fine in FF3.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489900)

Each extension has a "max-version". Some extensions devs will compare their extension with the current version of Firefox, say 2.0.0.14, make sure it works, and publish an extension with the max-version set to 2.0.0.14. This is what they are "supposed to" do. When 2.0.0.15 comes out, these extensions won't work any more, until the devs test them with the current version of Firefox, and upload a new version.

Some devs "break the rules", and if the current version is 2.0.0.14, they will set the max-version of their extension to 2.0.0.99, or something like that. These extensions probably won't break between upgrades, but are only tested by the devs after the fact, if at all.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490170)

Exactly. I always thought this was a procedural problem with the way Firefox handles extensions - virtually all extensions will be written to be compatible with the latest version of the browser, so "maximum version" is a pretty useless field. Either you fill it in honestly you'll have to update your extension every couple of weeks when Mozilla fixes the latest browser address spoofing bug, but setting it to a higher number is complete guesswork.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (1)

RiotingPacifist (1228016) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490506)

Bug fixes on the stable version you normally get 1-2 months between release (doing the maths actually give you an average of 6 weeks between (non-bug fix fix) releases), if you cant be bothered to check if your extension still works every 4-6 weeks perhaps its time to let it go.

While you do have a point that granular versioning (is that the right term) would be nice so that security fixes dont mean you have to bump your bookmark extension, I think it would do more to confuse developers than help them.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490332)

Some extensions devs will compare their extension with the current version of Firefox, say 2.0.0.14, make sure it works, and publish an extension with the max-version set to 2.0.0.14. This is what they are "supposed to" do.
Wrong. Firefox's versioning policy is that changes in the fourth component don't break compatibility (or at least shouldn't, but if it happens it's a bug). That's the reason they have four components in the first place: the third is there in case they need to do a security fix that breaks extensions, but doesn't have any/enough user-visible improvements to justify bumping the first two.

Some devs "break the rules", and if the current version is 2.0.0.14, they will set the max-version of their extension to 2.0.0.99, or something like that.
IIRC it accepts wildcards, but otherwise that's entirely the right thing to do.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490546)

There is a goal inside of Mozilla not to break extension compatibility for minor releases, and the documentation on their website suggests using maxVersion of the form 2.0.0.* for Firefox 2:

http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Updating_extensions_for_Firefox_2#Step_1:_Update_the_install_manifest [mozilla.org]

For Firefox 3, they suggest moving to the form 3.0.*:

http://developer.mozilla.org/en/docs/Updating_extensions_for_Firefox_3#Step_1:_Update_the_install_manifest [mozilla.org]

So no, devs aren't breaking any rules when they mark their extension as being forward compatible.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (1)

Patik (584959) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490540)

They're just playing it safe. Since each new release (beta or not) contains some changes, there's always a chance that one of those changes will negatively affect a particular extension. All the extension author needs to do is check that it's working and increment the version number. I realize this is inconvenient (especially when new releases come out every few weeks at this point in the cycle), but it's the only way to be sure that things work. If you don't care about being sure (as I don't), go ahead and use this hack.

At least they allow authors to use future version numbers once Firefox is stable -- an extension can be ready for 2.0.0.* so that every little security fix that Mozilla issues (which is not supposed to change the API or features) won't break the extension.

Re:A bit less strict disabling rules, please (1)

magus_melchior (262681) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490886)

It might be akin to preventing prescription drug interaction, only this time it's extensions possibly operating on the same module.

Most stupid /. story ever! (-1, Offtopic)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489076)

If I google for extension+compatibility, I get the same information. Jeez!

What is this? (5, Funny)

Zouden (232738) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489116)

What is this, the 'tips n tricks' column of a newspaper's IT section?

The fix, which requires a little boolean creativity, great for anyone not afraid of taking risks.

Not afraid of taking risks? It's about:config, not instructions for making a Linux-powered flamethrower, which I think would be a much better article for Slashdot.

Re:What is this? (5, Funny)

JavaBasedOS (1217930) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489240)

I'd advise against the Linux-powered flamethrower, as I almost melted my face off trying to recompile its kernel.

Re:What is this? (3, Funny)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489468)

I'm sure I'll be safe with the Microsoft powered flame thrower.

Re:What is this? (5, Funny)

mk_is_here (912747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489506)

Ah yes, the Blue Flame of Death!

Re:What is this? (2, Funny)

Eighty7 (1130057) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490410)

It would be their first cool product.

Re:What is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490582)

Yes, but does it run L-- oh, wait. :-)

Re:What is this? (0, Redundant)

rvw (755107) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489700)

Man, are you crazy? Never heard of the Blue Flame of Death?

Re:What is this? (3, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489478)

Fire wants to be free.

Re:What is this? (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489602)

I'd advise against the Linux-powered flamethrower, as I almost melted my face off trying to recompile its kernel.
I am an ice cube, you insensitive clod! I have melted my face off!

Re:What is this? (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489496)

Afraid of taking risks
Read: anyone who just wants their system to work, that is, not crash. Like your average user, sysadmin or company IT department. As for severity of crashes: even if it would just crash your browser, that's equivalent to a system crash if things get stuck bad enough that a reboot is the easiest way out. Not something you want to happen while you're on the phone talking to a customer, for instance.

Re:What is this? (1)

bloodninja (1291306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489570)

Not afraid of taking risks? It's about:config, not instructions for making a Linux-powered flamethrower, which I think would be a much better article for Slashdot.
Have you seen the "I'll be careful, I promise" disclaimer that Firefox 3 now throws when you first type about:config? Instead of the lean, quick browser that was developed as Phoenix, Firefox is becoming bloated, hiding options, and assumes that the user is making bad decisions as default behavior. I still like the browser, but the philosophy behind it has changed completely.

Re:What is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490772)

Bloated, sure, except it uses less resources than any other browser.

Idiot proofing software is a natural process when you get a few million people using it: you tend to get a bit wary of them changing some stupid option they know nothing about which can explode things.

I've been using FF since before 1.0, in fact, since early nutscrape days - and I'm happiest with FF3.0.

Stop being so cynical.

Instructions for a Linux-powered flamethower (1)

patio11 (857072) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489730)

lynx http://www.slashdot.org/ [slashdot.org]

(I could say that "Netcraft confirms it" but anyone doubting that Slashdot runs Linux probably needs to accept evolution, the moon landing, and the theory of gravity before clicking on this link: http://searchdns.netcraft.com/?position=limited&host=slashdot.org [netcraft.com] .)

Backwards compatibility (2, Insightful)

Lord Lode (1290856) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489152)

It's a loss if old plugins don't work, some plugins are nice but unmaintained. An example was PrefBar which also suddenly didn't work anymore in FireFox 2.0, until much later. It's a shame that no backwards compatibility is provided out of the box. Not saying I'm for the above idea though.

Re:Backwards compatibility (1)

dvice_null (981029) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491042)

There is already a browser for backwards compatibility. It didn't work out that well, that is why we have Firefox.

os dependency (2, Insightful)

genican1 (1150855) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489172)

I hope that soon they'll disable the creation of OS dependent add-ons. Man, I really want my browser to match aqua. so what if I don't have osx?

Re:os dependency (1)

DJProtoss (589443) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490624)

Well, if that addon requires something that is only availiable on OSX then banning OS-dependant addons will either mean:
a. those addons will break other installs or
b. those addons will go away, denying the people who are capable of using it from doing so.
Neither is particularily good.

Takes a long time to filter (4, Informative)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489180)

Obviously tips like this take a long time to filter through to Slashdot, for some reason. I saw that tip when first using Firefox 3 betas, and according to the Mozillazine knowledgebase [mozillazine.org] it has been there since Firefox 2! It also covers an extra bit that the summary doesn't that might still stop extensions working in Firefox 3.

And after all that, I originally used the Nightly Tester Tools to check the compatibility of some extensions. Some of the simpler ones worked, but AdBlock Plus couldn't just have the FF2 version enabled (it wouldn't auto-fill the filter address, but they have an update) and neither could the Web Dev toolbar (the edit CSS tab wouldn't close, amongst other things). Both of them have now been updated for the RC.

I think this one is definitely tagged right - "!news". Now all it needs is "badidea".

Re:Takes a long time to filter (1)

Cyvros (962269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489232)

Another way apart from Nightly Tester Tools is to just download and open up the extension XPI (or theme JAR) in an archive manager, open install.rdf and then, under <!-- Firefox -->, change the <em:maxVersion>number</em:maxVersion> to 3.0.* - it'll see you through the rest of Firefox 3.

Re:Takes a long time to filter (1)

IBBoard (1128019) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489412)

I've done that for themes, but the Nightly Tester Tools were more official and a bit less work (rather than trying to track down extensions by GUID). All of my extensions seem to have been made compatible by the developer now, though :)

Use Nightly Tester Tools (1)

Fallen Andy (795676) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489196)

See here [mozilla.org] . I've been using it with no problems for B4,B5 and RC1. The only problem I have here with RC1 is with AVG 8's safesearch.

Right now the only thing that (was, is?) giving me grief on RC1 is the blasted urlclassifier bug which thrashes the hell out of the hard disk (but that seems to be better now I've had RC1 a few days).

Andy

Nightly Tester Tools (5, Informative)

DemonThing (745994) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489214)

This addon [mozilla.org] lets you selectively override addons' compatibility, among other things.

This extension adds a few extras useful to those that regularly test nightly builds of Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and Toolkit Seamonkey (Suiterunner).

The following is a brief list of the extension's features, for the full set of features please visit the extension home page.

  • Extension compatibility fixing
  • Titlebar customisation
  • Build ID retrieval
  • Screenshots
  • Breakpad information
  • Restoring tabs from previous session
  • Leak log analysis

BUT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489928)

does it work with Firefox 3?

No Foxmarks... (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489222)

Latest version of Foxmarks doesn't work :( Oh well, it was worth a try!

Re:No Foxmarks... (2, Informative)

Cyvros (962269) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489258)

There's a beta version of Foxmarks [foxmarks.com] for Firefox 3 that's now been opened.

Re:No Foxmarks... (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489356)

There's a beta version of Foxmarks [foxmarks.com] for Firefox 3 that's now been opened.

Thanks!!! I don't know why I never saw this anywhere else, I had actually downgraded to Firefox 2 over this one issue. Thank you so much, I installed it and it works perfect.

Test the extentions one at a time (2, Informative)

fairyprincess (1127393) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489302)

Every extention has an install.rdf file which contains the version numbers it works with, if you go to your profie dir and then extentions you can move the extention folders out, edit the rdf files in notepad then restart firefox - it will have no extentions, close it, then move all the extention folders back one at a time restarting firefox everytime, that way you are only adding back extentions that you know work, but just haven't been updated by their developers to install. This can also be done by renaming the .xpi files to .zip then opening editing then returning to .xpi and installing. If you are comfortable doing this i view this as safer than just allowing all addons as if something was crashing firefox you would have no idea, where as if it did you would know and you would live without one extention rather than one.

This is really, really stupid (4, Informative)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489444)

Sure you can disable the mechanism that checks whether plugins are compatible.

However, as is to be expected with major version changes, lots of API's will likely have changed, so if the plugins happen not to crash outright, they might fail in subtle ways that you don't discover until it's much too late.

This is pretty much exactly why the mechanism is there in the first place.

So if you do this, don't complain about "bugs" regarding crashes, memory leaks and pretty much any other problems you may experience with Firefox. There likely will be a lot, if you go down this road.

Re:This is really, really stupid (2, Insightful)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489782)

Not to sound terribly dumb or inexperienced, but should we really expect extensions to cause crashes, memory leaks, and pretty much any other problem we might experience with Firefox?

Don't extensions run on some kind of VM or something? People yell at Windows for all of its stability problems, and practically everything in a modern web browser behaves like it's single-threaded?

We do live in 2008, right?

Re:This is really, really stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490232)

there's no distinction between an extension and the application.

no they are not applets. they're just the application.

and yes, they have as much permission as the application has which is as much as you have. if you're allowed to rm -rf /, then they're allowed to do it.

firefox has some code written in js and some native code. extensions can be written in pure js, or they can include binary code. if they include binary code, then they are most certainly not sandboxed in any way.

pure js code can be protected from accidentally letting web pages run as if they're the application, but extensions can also be configured to let web pages become the application if extensions believe they're smarter than the security team and need to have direct interaction with web pages. this is kind of like users who believe they need direct access to incompatible software. the results will be bad. just how bad? well, you could have a web page that manages to steal your credentials and then logs into your bank account, and sets up a loan to someone who isn't you for a million dollars (perhaps pounds or euros), it all depends on what you're able to do.

should you expect crashes from code which is used by fewer people, and has had less reviews? yes.
should you expect problems from code which is used by many people but not read by anyone? look at this week's major news story. Someone makes a change they don't understand and everyone runs scurrying to try to recover. yes problems can definitely happen.

ie8 switched to using multiple processes, but yes firefox is a single process with most work being performed on the ui thread, with the primary exception being standard network i/o (and an extension can do sync i/o if it feels like it. ProxyAutoConfig actually does sadly).

Re:This is really, really stupid (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490732)

Ah, so it's a lot like the old MacOS. You have hundreds of extensions running with full permissions, which don't all actually need full permissions to run, and if one blows up, it takes the whole OS... excuse me, browser, with it.

I've had multiple instances where if I updated Firefox, nothing happened when I tried to start it. No window, and no error message. If I opened up the Firefox folder and manually deleted extensions one at a time, I eventually found out which extension was causing the crash and could get rid of it. I recall doing that, to much frustration, on the university Macs over 10 years ago, while the people in the UNIX lab laughed. That doesn't sound like progress, considering that even Apple conceded that they couldn't write an OS and just used UNIX. When will web... excuse me, content browsers grow up? 2020?

Not like IE is any better, but for such a loud group of open source developers, I kind of expected more forethought with regards to reliability and security. Web browsers are not just document viewers, anymore. They are platforms. I'd expect them to be designed to handle flaws or security exceptions, or even API changes. Most Windows drivers are supported longer than Firefox extensions.

I'm not saying it's easy, but it is necessary, especially in an age where, at least at the consumer level, operating systems are becoming less relevant and XML is creeping its way into application UIs. Maybe if Firefox had more built-in tools for checking syntax... excuse me, reporting syntax errors, I wouldn't need so many extensions in the first place to develop web sites.

Re:This is really, really stupid (2, Interesting)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490706)

practically everything in a modern web browser behaves like it's single-threaded?

Yes it does, hence the entire browser stalls when one tab is busy for some reason.

Re:This is really, really stupid (4, Insightful)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490822)

Don't extensions run on some kind of VM or something? People yell at Windows for all of its stability problems, and practically everything in a modern web browser behaves like it's single-threaded?


I agree about the singlethreaded thing. Apart from that: no, extensions can't run in some kind of VM. If they did, they would not be able to modify the browser in interesting ways (as this in many cases needs r/w access to internal browser state; this would not be available if you run it in a "sandbox" or VM.

You can pretty much have the exact same argument about Linux kernel modules: the kernel refuses to load modules that are compiled for the wrong (=a different) kernel version. Now, you could say, modules should not be able to crash the kernel, right? Well...if you could limit the interface between kernel and modules in such a way that modules would probably run about 5x slower, needs twice the amount of code to write *and* be unable to do a lot of things that would be interesting because the strict interface does not allow this, then yes. If we don't want to make that sacrifice (and in fact we don't), the smarter way is to only allow modules to be loaded that are actually at least compiled against the correct kernel version.

We do live in 2008, right?


Last time I checked, yes. Your point being that software composition problems are just supposed to somehow magically solve themselves these days?

Re:This is really, really stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23489964)

So if you do this, don't complain about "bugs" regarding crashes
I'm sorry, but if Fx crashes because of a plugin error, that's still a Firefox bug.

So yes, while compatibility checking is a good idea for the functioning of the plugin, there is no reason why Firefox should be allowed to crash due to a faulty plugin.

Re:This is really, really stupid (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490744)

So yes, while compatibility checking is a good idea for the functioning of the plugin, there is no reason why Firefox should be allowed to crash due to a faulty plugin.


This is not feasible, because plugins are able to change internally used structures of the browser. Given the non-(memory-)managed programming environment in which the browser runs (as far as I know), this pretty much makes it impossible to keep plugins from crashing the browser. Or, to be more precise, the interfaces between browser and plugin could be made more strict and limited, thus (in the ideal case) making it impossible to crash the browser, but this would pretty much reduce the potential for plugins to do anything really interesting very close to zero.

This is Slashdot! (0)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489536)

Can someone please explain to me why you people are posting saying "don't do this".

The entire essence of slashdot is to fuck around with technology. Saying "you shouldn't tinker" is the opposite of what we are about.

I say go for it! Rip apart the browser and mess with it to your hearts content - cause that's the only way you'll ever figure stuff out.

----
The following plugins are working for me now,
Adblock Plus 0.7.5.4
Firebug 1.1.0b12
Google Pagerank Status 0.9.8
StatusbarEX 0.2.11
Web Developer 1.1.6

Re:This is Slashdot! (1)

Tarcastil (832141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489640)

There's a difference between a developer tinkering and a user destabilizing a binary.

Spill Chaker (0, Troll)

jlindy (1028748) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489552)

Tuu bud ut dusent werk wiff thuh Guggle twel bur...Cause I rally lick thuh spill chaker.

Re:Spill Chaker (0, Offtopic)

mikeage (119105) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489606)

Tuu bud ut dusent werk wiff thuh Guggle twel bur...Cause I rally lick thuh spill chaker.

You do realize that a spell checker would, at best, give you:

Too bud it doesn't work with the Google tool bur...Cause I rally lick the spill checker.

Even worse, the default spell checker (using the first option):

Thu bud nut enthused perk whiff huh Giggle towel bur...Cause I rally lick huh spill saker.

I think the first version was better than this...

Speaking of hacking Beta Software... (5, Funny)

hyperz69 (1226464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489566)

Here is another boolean hack but for Vista! Just set that boolean variable

CRASH = TRUE
and
EATALLMYDAMNRESOURCESWITHDRM = TRUE

to FALSE

I wonder if I can set OMGIGOTAGIRLFRIEND = TRUE... THE POSIBILITIES!

Re:Speaking of hacking Beta Software... (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491374)

And for some fun, set:

isCancel() returns ALLOW;
isAllow() returns CANCEL;

i think i'll say this safely: (1)

Neuropol (665537) | more than 6 years ago | (#23489982)

Just let FF3 work ....period.

The botched update that rolled out with the new Ubuntu is not even a functioning application. I'm not so worried about extensions, just get the browser working again. Thanks in advance.

Yes please (0, Redundant)

Squeeze Truck (2971) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490086)

I need my torbutton.

Plugin hell (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490320)

While the plugin system has many advantages, it becomes a management job in itself. Without plügins Firefox is well... daft. With plugins they stop working on certain upgrades, people claim plugins are the cause of instability and memory losses and so on. I don't want or need to micromanage my browser. I'd like Firefox and some of the core plugins as one package released together, but I guess that's why I prefer Opera. It's one install every time, it's not nearly as flexible as Firefox but it's a lot less hassle.

Google bar kills my FF3 (3, Informative)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490356)

You have been warned :)

Recovery is to delete the plugin, something like this:
egrep -ri google .mozilla | grep toolbar
.. ( see where it lives ) ..
rm -rf .mozilla/firefox/zy8uo2wh.default/extensions/\{3112ca9c-de6d-4884-a869-9855de68056c\}

Re:Google bar kills my FF3 (2, Informative)

mstrom (1060158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490848)

Recovery is to delete the plugin, something like this:

...

Ouch,manual removal of add-ons :(

Simpler way is to start Firefox in safe mode which has an option to disable all addons on startup, after which it can be uninstalled from within firefox safely.

firefox -safe-mode if my memory serves

How to test compatability before upgrading? (2, Interesting)

egghat (73643) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490598)

I'm on OS X and FF3 doesn't allow a parallel installation of two Firefoxes.

Is there a way to test all my installed extension in advance?

Sorry if this is a dumb question but I couldn't find anything with googling.

Re:How to test compatability before upgrading? (1)

NVP_Radical_Dreamer (925080) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491312)

Yes OSX does allow parallel of 2 versions of firefox, unless my wifes mac is some special magical mac. The only issue is each time you launch the "other" firefox it acts as though its the first time its been launched, ie. it checks the addons etc for compatibility.

Re:How to test compatability before upgrading? (1)

CXI (46706) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491420)

Is there a way to test all my installed extension in advance?

VirtualBox. Just spin up a VM of your favorite (supported) distro and test away. You could even run in seamless mode for a while if you're inclined to think "blah, then I'd have to use the VM for a while which would mean switching windows constantly etc, etc".

Re:How to test compatability before upgrading? (1)

BillZeBub13 (1079357) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491460)

I moved the old version of Firefox into Applications under my account, and put the new version into the global Applications folder. Or you could do it the other way around, or, really, just put them wherever you want.

Where am I? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23490606)

Wow! Digg got a new layout, it looks exactly like slashdot! wait a second...

Disabled install button (2, Informative)

lofoforabr (751004) | more than 6 years ago | (#23490956)

Well, I've been using this pref since the early days of Minefield. I find that most extensions I use work fine under Minefield. Here is a list of them:

  • Adblock Plus
  • del.icio.us
  • Fasterfox
  • Flashblock
  • Greasemonkey
  • Live PageRank
  • NoScript
  • Web Developer Toolbar

One thing to note, though.. I think recently the mozilla addons site has been changed, and the button to install is now disabled if you use a not-officially-compatible browser version.

To overcome this, I first install NoScript (it's compatible with Minefield), and then blacklist the mozilla addons site, so it will not run the javascript that disables the button (yes, it's javascript). Then I can install whatever I want.

Of course, I had a few problems with some extensions. Turned out they really were incompatible, but from my personal experience, most of them work just fine under Minefield.

Restoring compatability (2, Interesting)

clownface (633478) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491048)

> [Those who do] get the fix working will have
> to remove the code from the prefs.js file once
> the stable Firefox comes out

Not true. There is highly visible UI in the Firefox 3 AddOns Window which lets you to turn compatability checking on again.

Or... (1)

Crimson Wing (980223) | more than 6 years ago | (#23491378)

in about:config, create a new boolean and set extensions.checkCompatibility to false.
...or you could just go get the "MR Tech Toolkit" extension, which lets you do this simply by checking a checkbox, as well as force any that get disabled for incompatibility anyway to re-activate (with varying degrees of success).
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